52 Projects is an adventure in discovery. Every week, for 52 weeks, do something. Something you’ve never done before. Something you’ve always wanted to do. Something that scares you. Something that inspires you. Something that inspires others. Something that tickles your fancy. Something that caught your eye. Something that just popped into your head. It can be big. It can be small. It can be whatever you want it to be. Find out how doing something can lead you to discover things about yourself, your world, your God. Then, come here on Sundays and share it with others. I'll write about mine here, you write about yours on your blog, then use the tool in my post to link to your something. Please feel free to jump in and participate anytime throughout the year!


Sunday, December 19, 2010

Making Paneer

A thousand apologies...I skipped a week of projects here. Tis the holiday season and my head has been wrapped around all the preparations. But I think this week's project makes up for my absence last week.

I have long been a fan of Indian cuisine. On Friday night, Breen and I went for some Indian food. Usually I order the Dal Makhal but recently I've become absolutely smitten with Paneer in curry sauce. Paneer is a type of Indian cheese which is usually served up in main dishes in the form of dense little cheese cubes. So I had the bright idea right then and there in the restaurant to make Paneer myself the next day.

It starts off with a half gallon of milk (I used whole milk) in a heavy bottom saucepan heated until it boils. After the milk boils a half cup of hot water and a quarter cup of lemon juice is added. This addition causes the milk to separate and solid curds are formed.

After the curds are formed, they get rinsed in a cheesecloth lined strainer.

When you squeeze as much water out as you possibly can, the dense ball of curds gets pressed down with something heavy for 2 hours.

After 2 hours you have a nice block of Paneer which is ready to be cut in to cubes and added to a favorite curry sauce.

That's it. It really is easy and delicious! Try it with a can of coconut milk simmered with curry and a nice handful of toasted almonds on top of some Basmati rice.


* 8 cups (half gallon) milk
* 1/4 cup lemon Juice


1. Mix lemon juice in half cup of hot water and put aside.
2. Boil the milk in a heavy bottomed pan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, making sure not to burn milk.
3. As the milk comes to a boil, add the lemon juice gradually and stir the milk gently. The curd will start separating from the whey, turn off the heat.
4. Once the milk fat has separated from the whey, drain the whey using a strainer line with cheesecloth, or muslin cloth.
5. Wrap the curds in a muslin cloth, rinse under cold water, and squeeze well. This process takes out the sourness from the lemon.
6. To take out the excess water, press the wrapped paneer under a heavy pan for about 1 hour.


If paneer will be used to make any dessert dish:

1. The most important part of making paneer for dessert is how much water to take out from the paneer.
2. To check if right amount of water is out of the paneer, take a little piece of paneer on your palm and rub with your fingers. After rubbing the paneer for about 15-20 seconds, you should be able to make a firm but smooth ball.
3. For making sweets, paneer can be refrigerated for 1 to 2 days.
4. Paneer from half-gallon milk will make about 15 to 20 rasgullas.
5. I suggest 2% milk for rasgullas, rasmalai, chamcham or any other dish in that category.
6. For sandaish, burfee or any other such dish use regular milk.

If paneer will be used for making main dishes:

1. Before Pressing the paneer knead it enough so paneer is not crumbly.
2. Press the paneer instead one hour, two hours making firmer.
3. Cut the paneer to desired shape. Paneer can be refrigerated for a few days or kept frozen for months.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Week 46: testing silicone bakeware and decorating ornaments

This week I decided to feature two projects. We're hitting the holiday season after all so why not throw in a little extra fun.

Project #1: Testing silicone bakeware

I've seen silicone bakeware for quite some time but never bothered to purchase any of it. I'm kind of an old school kitchen girl and just the word "silicone" drove me away. Maybe it's because I associate silicone with breast implants gone horribly wrong. But on Friday when I was shopping with my mother, we saw a brownie bite pan made out of silicone. I make brownies quite often for the kids and I liked the price of the pan at $4.99. My mother bought it for me as a little gift. So off I went to the grocery store for a box of brownie mix.

I mixed up brownies as usual this morning. I then followed the directions on the packaging for the brownie bite pan and washed it well before using. With silicone, you still put it on a baking sheet when baking. I filled up each little brownie compartment, set the oven at 350 and baked them for about 28 minutes. Success.

Once the pan was COMPLETELY cool, the little brownies popped out pretty easily.

To be honest, I'm still on the fence about silicone bakeware. Usually when my brownies are baking, the kitchen is filled with the scent of warm chocolate. With the silicone, the usual smell was mixed in with a faint smell of burning rubber. Maybe by the time I'm 90 and my hair is falling out, I'll find out that silicone was not meant to cook with. But for now, I'll take my chances and finish the batch of brownies.

Project #2: decorating ornaments

I'm pretty sentimental when it comes to Christmas tree ornaments. I continue to hang every ornament that my kids ever made. Very few are store bought and most were gifts or handmade at some point or another. When I was standing at the check out line at Joanne Fabrics on Friday, I spotted a shelf with clear glass ball ornaments on clearance for $1.99. Six large globes for $1.99; how could I refuse?

So this morning I took out my paint pens and some colored tissue paper and went to town. I pulled the little tops off of each one and filled them with some shredded tissue paper. The painting part was easy.

Remember those Adirondack Inks that I used on white tiles many projects ago? I decided to apply drops of ink to the glass. I like the effect.
Reminds me of stained glass.

Next weekend we will pick out a tree and I can hang these ornaments.

What did you do this week?